Religion ISU: Biography
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Malcolm Little was born May 19, 1925, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. He died February 21, 1965, New York, New York. Malcolm was an African American leader and a powerful person in the Nation of Islam; he was the one who spoke of the ideas of race pride and Black Nationalism in the 1960’s.
When Malcolm was a young boy, his father, Reverends Earl Little died getting hit by a streetcar. The rest of Malcolm’s was so poor that their mother started cooking dandelion greens from the street to feed everyone. In 1939, Malcolm’s mother, Louise Little was sent to an insane asylum, Malcolm and his siblings had to either go live with relatives or were sent to foster homes. Malcolm dropped out of school in eighth grade after one of his teachers told him that he shouldn’t become a lawyer but a contractor. Malcolm, being a young, angry, and rebellious boy was moved from the Michigan State Detention Home to the Roxbury side of Boston to live with an older half-sister. Malcolm then got into some criminal activities while he was a teenager. He turned into a street hustler, drug dealer, and the head of a gang of thieves in Harlem and Roxbury.
While Malcolm was in prison for robbery from 1946-1952, Malcolm went through a state of conversion which led him to join the Nation of Islam; it would be an African American movement that joins things of Islam with Black Nationalism. Malcolm quit gambling, and smoking, he refused to eat any pork in keeping to the Nation of Islam’s diet. He would spend hours upon hours in the prison library reading books. Following the traditions of Islam, Malcolm replaced his last name “Little” with an “X”, a nice gesture to the Nation of Islam people who thought that their last names have originated from white slaveholders. After Malcolm was released from prison he helped lead the Nation of Islam during the time of its greatest growth and impact. Malcolm X met Elijah Muhammad in Chicago in 1952 and they then began to organize temples for the Nation of Islam in Philadelphia, Boston, New York and a bunch of cities down South. Malcolm became the minister of Boston Temple No. 11, the temple that he founded; later on he was awarded with the post of minister of Temple No. 7 in Harlem. Elijah Muhammad, who had really liked something about Malcolm, named him the National Representative of the Nation of Islam, second ranking to Muhammad himself. With the Nation of Islam under Malcolm’s authority, the Nation claimed a membership of around 500,000.
An amazing public speaker, an appealing personality, and a ‘stop at nothing’ organizer, Malcolm had it all. He expressed the built-up anger, frustration, and the hate of African Americans during the major times of the civil rights in 1955 – 1965.